Monday, February 8, 2010

Status of Mobile Health

Over 300 people attending the first mHealth Networking Conference on February 3-4, 2010 in Washington D.C. were eager to hear the latest on the mHealth revolution. The top thought leaders in the field Claudia Tessier President mHealth Initiative and Vice President C. Peter Waegemann presented their vision for mHealth. Both keynote speakers see mobile health as a huge wave hitting the healthcare field with the result that many new mobile communication systems are here today with many others coming on board in the near future.

Waegemann explained how ehealth differs from mhealth in that the focus for ehealth is on using electronic medical records and other technologies while mhealth health focuses on behavioral and structural changes.

Mobile devices are performing many functions in the virtual world that include accessing patient information at the point-of-care, developing medical networks, and providing remote virtual care. Physicians are now able to use the increasing number of Apps available not only for patient care but also to search and find the most current scientific and medical research information available worldwide.

Developing mobile health technology will save billions by using new technologies that will result in fewer office visits and better quality of care. Physicians will be able to research all of the newer options for treatments, be able to readily and easily communicate with wellness and care providers, patients will be able to contact disease specific groups, communication with payers will be easier, and clinicians will have access to all the necessary information needed to treat patients.

However, experts in the field are realistic and see the hurdles that must be overcome. The issues that need to be addressed involve standard development, legal requirements, certification, payment systems, confidentiality issues, and behavioral changes.

As Waegemann sees the future, the doctor’s role will change from lone doctor to a role similar to being the conductor of an orchestra. Healthcare will no longer be physician driven but will be largely participatory health to include all stakeholders, insurance companies, long term caregivers dentists, public health officials, hospitals, primary care providers, consumers, financial institutions, alternate health systems, and consumer/patient health systems involved in wellness.

Keynoter Claudia Tessier, President, and Co-Founder of the mHealth Initiative presented the 12 clusters for mHealth applications.

1. To help patients prepare for their doctor’s visit, select caregivers, or schedule appointments
2. To provide access to worldwide web-based resources
3. To provide point-of-care information on the patient to doctors and clinicians so that the patient’s history is available in real time and use mobile devices to communicate with electronic medical records
4. Apps are available to helps patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and others
5. Help to educate not only patients but also provide new apps in nursing and in other areas
6. To communicate with laboratories, pharmacies, and other colleagues
7. To help the staff make the office work efficiently and to help the staff to communicate better with third parties, payers, laboratories, plus help the staff track supplies and equipment
8. To provide for financial apps to be able to help patients understand their eligibility for services and their billing
9. Help to provide emergency care before the patient arrives at the emergency department and start triage before the patient arrives
10. To provide invaluable information to help public health officials track epidemics, outbreaks, and help to instruct consumers and patients on staying safe
11. To use for pharma/clinical trials and be able to rely on information from mobile devices other than the patient for routine data collection
12. Body area networks will operate where people will wear sensors to collect biometric data with the data sent to mobile phones

Since mobile health or mHealth is developing at such a rapid rate, the mHealth Initiative has just announced that their next mHealth Networking Conference will be held September 8-9, 2010 in San Diego California.

For more information on the mHealth networking conferences go to